Kalamata’s Kitchen Chief Imaginator, Sarah Thomas, remembers the adventures in developing our newest collaboration with Chef Lior Lev Sercarz: La Boîte à Biscuits, a limited edition holiday biscuit box featuring five new holiday flavor combinations.
The elevator doors opened to The Spice Lab and I was immediately enveloped in a smell I associated exclusively with one other place— the aisles of an Indian store. Of course, this makes sense. What struck me was how that smell had always meant familiarity, comfort, home, and nostalgia. In the Spice Lab, it made me feel something entirely different: eager, excited anticipation for something new. I had no idea how Lior was going to upend my known associations with spices, but I could not wait to find out.
When Lior Lev Sercarz, chef, spice blender and owner of La Boîte, a biscuits and spice shop in New York City, asked us to collaborate on his latest seasonal biscuit box, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. One of the many reasons we love working with Lior is his ability to create a twist on the familiar, and to create excitement over the introduction of an unexpected flavor or sensation in a bite of something delicious.
New Holiday Memories
The idea behind the biscuit box itself is a twist on what a traditional holiday cookie or biscuit really is. I know that I have an association with holiday cookies— gingerbread, cinnamon, warm spices, etc— but what do those flavors really mean? Festivity! Nostalgia. Comfort. Celebration with loved ones. Lior does not believe that just a few flavors should have all the fun. The creative combinations and distinctive, unique flavors of Lior’s biscuits are an opportunity to keep our minds open for exploration and celebration— and what could be more festive than that?
Mymi, Lior’s brilliant pastry chef at La Boîte, helped design and create these beautiful confections. Her baking prowess combined with Lior’s spice knowledge resulted in extraordinary confections for grownups and kids alike. As I tried each biscuit with Mymi and Lior, I could imagine the conversations being had around this box— “What does that remind you of?” “Where does this spice come from?” “I never knew these flavors could go together—let’s make our own combinations!”
Connections New and Old
I had my favorite, but I won’t tell you what it is. I’d love to hear from you first. Who did you share the box with? Which one couldn’t you wait to try again? In a funny coincidence, Mymi has been connected with the Kalamata family since the beginning— she used to work in pastry with our first Professional Taste Bud, Ilma Lopez, in NYC. As we tasted biscuits with flavors from all around the world, our personal connections, memories, and the act of sharing that tasting experience with each other reminded me that the world is vast and small, and we’re all much closer to each other than we think.